Last year, a group of men surrounded a parked bus carrying Jewish teenagers, banged on the windows, yelled anti-Semitic epithets and threats, made Nazi salutes and obscene gestures, and then chased after it when it began to pull away. The BBC, reporting on the incident, stated that the teenagers had shouted an anti-Muslim slur, or “racial slurs,” at the attackers—although the video of the incident and the subsequent police report make clear no such slurs were uttered. But worse than the falsehood, writes Stephen Pollard, was the network’s unwillingness to admit to it:
Two months later, on January 26, the BBC’s Executive Complaints Unit reported [on the coverage of the story]. It, too, refused to concede that the slur was a fiction, but said that “more could have been done” to “acknowledge the differing views . . . on what was said.” Except that the only “differing views” were of what happened and did not happen.
All organizations make mistakes. What matters is how they are corrected. But consistently, the BBC behaves as if it is beyond reproach, as if only those with an agenda or animus against it could possibly find fault. In this case, the BBC’s dogmatic refusal to accept any responsibility, led it to treat the Jewish community itself with contempt, loftily dismissing the pleadings of the chief rabbi and the president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, among others, for it to consult evidence and act accordingly.
In response to repeated complaints, Ofcom—the UK’s equivalent of the FCC—conducted an investigation which resulted in the recent release of a damning report. But not much seems to be changing at Britain’s state-sponsored network. Jonathan Sacerdoti notes some all-too-typical examples:
The BBC has broadcast folksongs that glorify attacks on Jews and call for bloodshed. . . . One of the songs, aired on its Arabic language service—which has 36 million viewers—is addressed to Palestinian militants. As translated by the media watchdog Camera Arabic, the song says: “The force in your hand is your right. Don’t leave your weapon in its sheath. . . . From the Jerusalem mountains and from the plain, your blood, should it be shed on the earth, would make red freedom bloom.”
In [another] case, the broadcaster took twelve months to accept an error in a report about holy sites in Jerusalem. Although the BBC acknowledged it, the mistake remains online more than two months later, and is still in place.
More about: Anglo-Jewry, Anti-Semitism, BBC